Until February 2020, most companies were planning their long-term business strategies, setting ambitious growth targets, and launching new products. In general, the strategy of companies was to automate the past, to prioritize cost reduction over the creation of value for the consumer. The current health crisis has changed everything and is now forcing companies to reinvent themselves by implementing a breakthrough strategy.
In the current context, any company will have to become a “High Tech” company or will be disintermediated and its brand will lose its value. The meteoric rise of Tesla during the crisis in the face of car manufacturers paralyzed by the brutal fall of their market is proof of this.
In other words, companies must take up this challenge and imperatively adopt new ways of working and doing business by betting on Moonshots and challenges.
What the conquest of space taught us
The concept of Moonshot refers to the Apollo mission, the space program designed to land Americans on the Moon and return them safely to Earth. Between 1960 and 1972, the US government spent $ 26 billion to achieve this goal. Over 300 different projects have contributed, not only in aeronautics, but also in fields such as nutrition, textiles, electronics and medicine, generating 1,800 by-products, ranging from freeze-dried foods to freezer suits, including by tire springs and digital flight controls.
The program was also instrumental in launching an industry for the integrated circuit, a technology not proven at the time, and other space projects such as the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. Without the Apollo program, no Intel, no electronics industry which then allowed the development of the PC and the Smartphone and established the technological domination of the United States.
By extension, Google qualifies as Moonshot any idea that can meet a real international need, involve disruptive technology and ultimately generate a radical change, at least "ten times greater" than what is currently possible.
The economist Maria Mazucatto perfectly explains the importance of the commitment of States to finance risky projects in her book “The entrepreneurial state” and their consequences in terms of wealth creation. She stresses that, without the research actions of the Defense Advanced Reasearch Projects Agency (DARPA), humanity would not have Internet, GPS, or voice assistant.
For Maria Mazucatto, five criteria described these moonshots:
1 / Be daring and inspire citizens,
2 / Be ambitious and risky,
3 / Have a clear objective and deadlines
4 / Be interdisciplinary and intersectoral (for example, eradicating cancer would require innovations in health, nutrition, AI and pharmaceuticals),
5 / Allow experimentation and multiple attempts at solutions rather than being managed from top to bottom by a government.
Since 1994, the XPRIZE foundation has been launching challenges with a strong societal impact (how to create useful CO2-based products, how to train employees for new jobs in less than 60 days) which require thinking differently and developing disruptive technologies.
It's about breaking down the walls that block our minds, mobilizing the best minds on the planet to solve environmental and economic problems that impact the well-being of every inhabitant of the planet.
The German Falling Walls initiative aims to unite cross-border think tanks and instruments for action around these issues. Business must meet science and knowledge as quickly as possible to translate all these technological breakthroughs into innovations.
In Europe, the JEDI foundation (Joint European Disruptive Initiative), funded by European states, regions and foundations of large groups, pursues the same objectives as an XPRIZE.
Guiding the design of such innovations from a sustainable perspective is the ambition of the patterns that we propose in a book to be published in November 2020: “Internet of Augmented Me, I.AM: Empowering Innovation for a New Sustainable Future”.
The equivalent of the Apollo mission is “zero everything”, the quest for zero. Zero waste, Zero CO2 emissions, Zero congestion in cities, the challenges will be formulated in this way, which highlights the Berlin Wall to be demolished.
This new economy, which wants to both provide an abundance of fundamental services such as drinking water, education, energy, a roof and health, will be based on thermodynamic principles and will be strongly inspired by the experience of nature. It will be decentralized because the solutions must take into account the geographic and cultural specificities of the territories. We envision the return of Braudelian world economies to the digital age.
To avoid the rebound effects associated with intensive use of more efficient technology, we must use incentive mechanisms offered by the blockchain universe of cryptocurrencies. Theory and games and social psychology must be used.
How to create value for consumers?
With the Internet of Augmented Value (I.AM), the creation of customer value passes from equipment to services provided that this value which is perceived by the consumer, a value of increase and of personal and cultural enrichment. This increase in consumers is in line with journalist and writer Daniel Pink's 3.0 motivation, this urge to do things because they matter to us, because they have meaning, because we love them. It is the customer experience that determines the quality of an I.AM product / service.
What is new with I.AM?
To sell a product in the era of the Internet of Me, it is imperative to put oneself in the logic of the consumer's purchase and not in the logic of the sale of the “washing machine”. The ecosystems associated with products will gradually take the place of value chains in companies' strategy. All products become distribution channels.
More generally, we must therefore think about flows, exchanges, interactions, collaboration and not stocks, which means in particular that the company does not have its employees, its suppliers, its customers. It maintains interactions with them and its value derives from its ability to enhance these different flows, in particular to create more financial resources than it consumes.
This added value created by I.AM will be more concentrated over a period of time and therefore on the subscription of consumers.
What role for finance in the I.AM world?
Finance, like all other industries, must reinvent itself around new I.AM patterns, with emphasis on decentralization, short circuits of trust. Decentralized finance or DeFI works with zero friction, zero authorization, zero owner interface.
The financing of I.AM products / services mainly involves the tokenization of assets and their virtualization. A token or token is the digital representation of an asset on the Blockchain or colloquially “programmable currency”. This asset can be both digital or physical, tangible or intangible.
From a technical point of view, a token is an algorithm implemented as a Smart Contract on a blockchain. The algorithm defines all the functionality of the token like its value, how and how many tokens are created, what denominations they allow, how the tokens are spent and under what name and address they can be used. Even complex features like voting can be implemented.
Tokens therefore play a fundamental role in the exchange of value and the representation of rights in the physical world. Special attention should be paid to the exchange protocol. Since smart contract state changes are triggered automatically by external events, the motivation of users or devices to send these events should be questioned.
Tokenization makes it possible to finance ambitious projects, Moonshots by smoothing out the risk on a large population of investors. Thus, we can finance high-tech energy production and distribution equipment. Thanks to “IoT wallet” type transaction counters, we can measure both the technical performance of the asset and its commercial performance. Each investor has the possibility to follow in real time the financial performance of his investment.
Given that the IoT blockchain does not have the same characteristics as a DeFI blockchain, it is important to make them interoperable so that DeFI smart contracts can rely on information from IoT registers while verifying the identity of the active.
Interchain, the blockchain of blockchains, is becoming a necessity. The Polkadot platform is an operational embodiment of this. It allows the transfer of any type of data or asset, and not just tokens. Connection to Polkadot allows you to interact with a wide variety of blockchains in the Polkadot network. This operation helps stimulate financial innovation by combining, for example, Nodle's IoT blockchain, Ontology's sovereign identity blockchain and DeFI Acala blockchain.
Recently, the Daimler Mobility Blockchain Factory showed the possibility of bundling the services of different companies and providing them to the customer as if one company provided them. Customers are identified once, across the ecosystem, and they can then use that identity to sign transactions with any of the silos operators. It is very easy to identify companies, vehicles and customers and therefore to track transactions.
Another Daimler project, MoveX, wants to allow a customer to experience multiple mobility services with a single continuous experience. All while protecting the user's privacy.
These combinations of services create what we call the Internet of Augmented Value or I.AV which enhances the performance of collaborative exchanges between manufacturers and service operators. Interchain and tokenization are the building blocks of new economic models around I.AM and I.AV. And moonshots are fuel for it.
The success of Moonshots goes through the creation of a technological infrastructure whose characteristics are summed up with the 6 letters of ASPECT:
Like Autonomy, Assets, API, Automatization, Anticipation, Augmented, ATAWAD, Artificial Intelligence, Authentication, Anthropomorphic, Assistant, AutoML, Avalabs, Agnostic, As-a-Service.
Like Services, Security, Simplification, Symbolic, Scalability, Seamless, Sharing, Scale, Searching, Sustainability, Streaming, Storage, Serverless, Social, Stakeholders, Softwarization.
Like Programmability, Personalization, Proof, Prediction, Posture, Privacy, Process, PEC, P2P, Proof of Stake.
Like Energy, Efficiency, Emotional, Exchange, Explanation, Edge, Ethereum.
Like Connectivity, Capital, Context, Communication, Collaboration, coordination, Contract, Commons, Citizen, Commuter, Consumer, Community, Consensus, Cryptocurrency, Computational, Cloud, Content, Curation, Charging, Chainlink.
Like Trustworthiness, Twin, Tokenized, Thing, Traceability, Transaction, Tax, Transparency, Together, Teaching, Tactile, Trading, Transfer, Tezos.
Finally, let's never forget that customers never buy technology, but solutions that make their lives easier and successful experiences. The Moonshot must quickly burn itself out through the automation of production and find its audience. Intel must turn into Apple.